News / Asia

Hundreds Turn Out to Support Same-Sex Marriage in Vietnam

Participants take part in a flash mob during a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) event on a street in Hanoi, Oct. 27, 2013.
Participants take part in a flash mob during a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) event on a street in Hanoi, Oct. 27, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Marianne Brown
Hundreds of people gathered in the center of Hanoi Sunday morning to watch a staged wedding ceremony between two same-sex couples ahead of a planned parliamentary debate on the topic next month.

Under the heat of an autumn morning in Hanoi, two same-sex couples dressed as brides and grooms took part in wedding ceremonies in front of around 300 people waving rainbow flags and holding colored balloons.

The couples exchanged rings and threw bouquets, much to the crowd’s delight. One of the brides, Linh, gave a short speech.

She said she was very happy to be able to take part in a wedding with the woman she loves.

The event was part of the “Toi Dong Y” festival, which translates as “I do,” or “I agree”, organized by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) groups across the country. In two weeks over 52,000 people have “liked” a Facebook page set up for the event.

One participant, 18-year-old Truong Duc Anh, said same-sex marriage is an important topic for Vietnam.

He said he believes love does not have a wrong or a right side and the most important thing is that society treats people equally when it comes to love.

The festival is being held ahead of a planned debate on revisions to the Marriage and Family Law at the National Assembly on November 5.

The draft does not include the legalization of same-sex marriage, but removes the article banning them in the current law and includes provisions for same-sex couples who live together.

One of the organizers - Le Quang Binh, director of the Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE) - said he believes same-sex marriage will be legalized eventually.

"I believe in people and I think that when everybody speaks out, everyone has to listen whoever you are. So that’s why we do it this way. We mobilize public opinion, LGBT, students, young people so when people speak their opinion, politicians will have to listen," Binh said. "And I believe that politicians are also human beings. They need time to understand."

Attitudes towards the LGBT community have changed greatly over the last few years in Vietnam, where belief in traditional patriarchal family values remains the norm. Vietnam's LGBT community has grown more confident in its activism, even conducting training workshops for local journalists to improve their representation of gay people in local media.

Last year, hundreds of people cycled through the center of Hanoi in August for the country’s first Gay Pride parade. An Internet sitcom (situation comedy) called “My Gay Best Friends” went viral, attracting over 1.5 million viewers, and a publisher released the country’s first biography of a transgender person.

"I think a lot of change has taken place already...Before people thought it was sensitive so they didn’t want to talk about this. But now people are willing to talk about this. Many people support and many people oppose but at least the social debate takes place. We believe that’s necessary for social change," stated Binh.

Binh said he thinks legalizing same-sex marriage would give the country a big boost in terms of Vietnam’s commitment to international human rights standards. The country has received growing criticism in recent years for restrictions on freedom of speech and the increasing numbers of political bloggers receiving jail terms.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid